Body & Design: Nikon 1 J1

The J1's size and form-factor resemble its compact camera-inspired rivals like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and Olympus PEN E-PM1. The rounded contours along the J1's front facing edges speak to a sleek, stylish aesthetic that also serves to draw attention away from its relatively boxy rear plate. Leaving little doubt as to its intended audience, the J1 is available in no less than five body and lens colors. Neither of the Nikon 1 cameras offers touchscreen capability or an articulated LCD, two features that are becoming more common in the mirrorless market.

Compared to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and Olympus E-PM1

The J1, while including a large portion of the features seen its larger sibling, the V1, does away with an EVF, resulting in a body size that is comparable to its Micro Four Thirds competition. Below, we compare it to the entry-level mirrorless offerings from both Panasonic and Olympus.

The J1 eschews both the sleek curvature of the Panasonic GF3 as well as any sort of hand grip. The J1 has slightly smaller dimensions in both width and height. The compact size of the J1's kit lens makes for a significantly less bulky combination.
Front a front view, the J1 is almost imperceptibly wider than the E-PM1 but is noticeably shorter. Neither camera has a hand grip, opting instead for a more compact camera-like smooth front plate. While the J1 has a visibly thicker body, its collapsible kit lens gives it a smaller footprint than the E-PM1.

Body elements

The J1 has a pop-up flash positioned close to the edge of the camera that rises 35mm from the top of the lens. The flash is rated with a guide number of 5m at ISO 100.
An infrared receiver on the front of the camera is used in conjunction with the optional ML-L3 wireless remote.
The flash switch is located on the left side of the J1 above the screen.
Along the top of the camera plate sit the power switch, shutter release and movie record button. The latter is positioned flush with the camera body to minimize accidental operation.
At the bottom of the camera sits an integrated control dial and four dedicated buttons.
The camera's ports are housed behind a flexible plastic flap. The J1 offers an HDMI and USB connection.
The J1 ships with the EN-EL20 battery which carries a CIPA rating of approximately 230 still images.

The memory card slot sits beneath the battery, and accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC types.